The Corbyn phenomenon and Farage phenomenon in
the Sanders phenomenon and the Trump phenomenon in the USA, the Le Pen phenomenon in France, the Wilders phenomenon in the Netherlands, and the Tsipras phenomenon in are all
very different in various ways. But they have a couple of notable things in
Firstly, they constitute a movement of people based on the personality, character and views of a single leader who titillates them ideologically and publically vocalises the beliefs they have. And secondly, they are groups of people, often the least well educated in society (though there are, of course, plenty of exceptions), that feel let down by other politicians’ fabrications, past and present.
These movements consist predominantly of people who’ve fallen for the half-truths and falsehoods that politicians have told them, and the misjudged promises they’ve made, about how our citizens will be well off in terms of jobs, education and well-being.
The mass disappointment that turns people onto the coattails of the figureheads above is based largely on the ubiquitous embellishments of economics that fail to account for how global trade and competition penalises uncompetitive domestic industries, and that domestically we were never going to continue to have the lion's share on the manufacturing we once had.
Because the reality is, a large proportion of the lost domestic industry that's lamented, the declining social mobility, the high levels of youth unemployment in some parts and the widening levels of income inequality are all the result of masses of people in the developing nations starting to prosper by becoming more involved in the global market.
Just like with science, economics goes through its own Kuhnian paradigm shifts as well. People are quite used to seeing how new technology changes the labour market landscape, and they embrace it because they see the tangible benefits of having better technological sophistication, and also that the economic pie isn't fixed, meaning better technology doesn't mean fewer jobs.
What they don't see anything like as well, hence the misguided hope they place in the aforementioned political icons, is that things like the lost domestic industry and the widening levels of income inequality are a natural process of people in poorer countries becoming better off through trade - they are not things that our domestic politicians can do very much about, and nor should they.
As I've mentioned before in this blog, the benefits of global trade are rather similar to the innovations of new technology in that on the whole everyone is being made better off by it.
Consequently, then, the Corbyns, the Trumps and the Le Pens of this world find themselves being hailed as the antidote to the laments and so-called injustices of large groups that feel left behind and not listened to by the establishment, when in reality what they want done for them, and what is promised will be done for them by these leaders, either cannot be done, or when it can, would actually make them far worse off than they currently are.